- - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MINNESOTA

Pawlenty says ‘no’ to campaign for Senate

ST. PAUL — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Wednesday definitively ruled out a 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate after ending his Republican bid for the White House a few days ago.

State Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton and others were hoping that Mr. Pawlenty would get right back into the ring and take on Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a freshman Democrat, next year.

“I don’t know what I will be doing next,” Mr. Pawlenty said in an email to the Associated Press. “However, I will not be running against Amy in 2012.”

As a presidential candidate last week, Mr. Pawlenty told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that he didn’t have interest in the Klobuchar contest, but Republicans saw a renewed chance to recruit him after he left the presidential race Sunday.

Mr. Pawlenty, 50, ended his campaign after finishing third in an Iowa Republican straw poll. He had spent many months and millions of dollars building his campaign after two terms as Minnesota governor.

Mr. Sutton said Monday that he planned to give Mr. Pawlenty time to decompress before making his Senate pitch.

“I think he’d be a heck of a candidate for U.S. Senate,” Mr. Sutton said.

Republican leaders are trying to build a field of rivals to Ms. Klobuchar, who has strong public approval ratings and more than $3 million stocked up.

Former state Rep. Dan Severson is the only Republican to step forward. He was the party’s unsuccessful nominee for secretary of state in 2010.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Perry expresses doubts of man-made global warming

BEDFORD — GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry told New Hampshire voters Wednesday that he does not believe in man-made global warming, calling it a scientific theory that has not been proved.

“I think we’re seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists that are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change,” the Texas governor said on the first stop of a two-day trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

He said some want billions or trillions of taxpayer dollars spent to address the issue, but he added: “I don’t think from my perspective that I want to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question.”

He made the comments at a packed breakfast meeting with local business leaders in a region known for its strong environmental policies, and he made his global warming comment in response to a question by an audience member who cited evidence from the National Academy of Sciences.

Mr. Perry’s opinion runs counter to the view held by an overwhelming majority of scientists that pollution released from the burning of fossil fuels is changing the climate of the planet. Mr. Perry’s home state of Texas releases more heat-trapping pollution carbon dioxide — considered the primary greenhouse gas — than any other state in the country, according to government data.

CAMPAIGN

Democrats paint GOP field with tea party brush

Are the GOP and the tea party one in the same? Yes, according to the White House.

The rising profiles of Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are giving President Obama and other Democrats a new opening: linking the entire GOP field to the tea party, whose popularity has recently sagged.

A new video by the Democratic National Committee provides a window into the strategy. It says Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates are, in the DNC’s words, “embracing extreme tea party policies.”

If the strategy works, it could cause guilt-by-association problems even for non-tea-party Republicans such as Mitt Romney.

VERMONT

Gov. Shumlin presides over lesbians’ marriage ceremony

MONTPELIER — Making good on a campaign promise, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin married a lesbian couple in a small ceremony in his office.

The first-term Democrat presided over the marriage Wednesday of 55-year-old Michele “Mitch” Beck and 56-year-old Ann Beck, of Royalton. Mr. Shumlin led the push to legalize same-sex weddings in Vermont as a state lawmaker in 2009.

Mr. Shumlin met the couple at a campaign event when he was running for governor last summer and told them he would be happy to perform their wedding ceremony if he was elected.

He paid $100 to the secretary of state’s office to be certified as a “temporary officiant,” donned a crisp navy suit and did the honors.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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